Monday, January 31, 2011
Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Tamara has lived a charmed, privileged life. She is someone you could imagine on one of those MTV shows like My Sweet Sixteen. The bratty, get whatever she wants, teenager. But something happens that changes the course of Tamara's life. Her father dies. And while she doesn't immediately change into decent human being, this loss is enough to make her think about more. More than her pathetic, materialistic existence.
After Tamara's father dies, his insurmountable debt leaves Tamara and her mother no other choice but to live with Tamara's Aunt Rosaleen and Uncle Arthur out in the Irish countryside. While some of us might find this idyllic Tamara, a Dubliner, sees it as a kind of death sentence, the death of her social life. Her only peers include the cute guy in charge of the traveling library, Marcus, and Wesley her Uncle Arthur's right hand man.
Tamara picks up a book from the traveling library which turns out to be a journal. Tamara's neighbor, Sister Ignatius, encourages Tamara to write in the journal to work out all her feelings about her father's death. But when she goes to write her first entry she finds an entry in her own handwriting...for the next day. Tamara is scared, angry and confused until the next day when everything in the journal proves to be true. Tamara uses the information in the journal to make changes in her daily decisions, decisions that begin to unravel a mystery about Tamara's past that will forever change her understanding of herself.
Ahern's writing is simply beautiful; there is no doubt about that. The only complaint I have about the actual writing is that the first part of the novel is mostly Tamara telling us readers everything versus showing. I know she's catching us up to speed on what's happened but I don't know how many times we reviews express disappointment in being told something by the characters instead of shown through dialog or actions, which keeps the book interesting. However, like I said, Ahern's writing is truly exceptional.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. My first impression was not good, I was gearing up for a negative review so I was making notes of all the issues I had with Tamara and while I continued to be frustrated with her attitude, I was sucked into the magic, mystery, and intrigue of the story. The Book of Tomorrow is a beautifully written story of family, love, loss, and self discovery.
Disclosure: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this review.